Because of the many congenital-bone-fusions (due to Klippel-Feil-Syndrome) throughout my life, doctors have performed many, many medical-imaging tests (CT-Scans, MRIs, X-Rays, Ultrasounds, Endoscopies, etc.), which have led to numerous (15) surgeries.

As an Archaeologist, I have lived all over the USA, Canada, UK, and Israel. So my medical-imagery is scattered all over the globe. I know you can submit a medical-release form for medical documentation, but can one request copies of CT-Scans, MRI, X-rays & ultrasound/endoscopic imagery from Dr.'s/Surgeons for personal records? How so?

I want them personally because I'm constantly moving and constantly having surgery, and it would be greatly beneficial, but I've never known of anyone who had their own copy of their x-rays or ct-scans? It's always been the summary from the radiologist or specialist.

**I understand that maybe endoscopies might not be available because they are a camera and are not recorded.

****I also understand that CT-Scans are typically digital (computer-based), but can they print a copy of them?

  • Well, have you asked for them? it would be a good idea to collate your record to one place but maybe only the diagnosis is needed as further trouble and scans, etc. would be done and the full history presumably revealed. I have a private MRI and wondered if I could get the scan images not sure what that would do for me though as a specialist is needed to interpret. Has anyone in the UK got themselves such data from the NHS? Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


Regarding United States, quote from "Copy Fees and Patients’ Rights to Obtain a Copy of Their Medical Records: From Law to Reality" (2005):

Patients have a legal right under HIPAA to a copy of their medical records. Personal life-long medical records rely on patients’ ability to exercise this right inexpensively and in a timely manner. We surveyed 73 hospitals across the US, with a geographic concentration around Boston, to determine their policies about fees for copying medical records and the expected time it takes to fulfill such requests. Fees range very widely, from $2-55 for short records of 15 pages to $15-585 for long ones of 500 pages. Times also range widely, from 1–30 days (or longer for off-site records). A few institutions provide records for free and even fewer make them accessible on-line.

From "Patient Access to Personal Health Information: Regulation vs. Reality" (2015):

Access to health information through patient portals and other electronic means is increasing with the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), but not all providers have EHRs or patient portals and not all information may be available electronically. Patients are expected to continue to request paper and electronic copies of their medical records.

From "How to Request Your Medical Records" (2012):

patients have the ability to request the format in which they would like to receive their records. For facilities using an electronic health record system, the medical record may be available on CD, DVD, USB flash drive, or sent via secure e-mail. Additionally, larger facilities are increasingly creating Web-based portals that allow patients direct access to their information. It is important to note that patients have a right to a copy of their record, not the original. The original record belongs to the healthcare facility. It is a document they must maintain for legal and business purposes.

In Canada it seems to be regulated by each province intependently. For example, in Ontario there is Personal Health Information Protection Act (see part V, chapter 52 for example).

Now, in United Kingdom things seems to look like this (quote from NHS website):

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you. This includes your NHS or private health records held by a GP, optician or dentist, or by a hospital. (...) Depending on which health records you want to see, submit your request in writing or by email to a registered health professional (...). This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). (...) Under the Data Protection Act, requests for access to records should be met within 40 days. However, government guidance for healthcare organisations says they should aim to respond within 21 days. (...) You may have to pay a fee to access your health records, so ask if there is a charge before you apply to see them.

Some more from NHS (other webpage) about fees:

Online access to your GP records is free of charge. However, charges may apply if you wish to see the originals or get physical copies or your health records. (...) No fee is charged to see your records but if you wish to take a copy away you may be charged. The charge will vary, depending on how the information is stored. The maximum charges are: * £10 for records that are only held electronically * up to £50 for those records that are not available in electronic form or only partially available electronic form

In Israel there is Patient's Rights Law which states among other things:

  1. (A) The patient shall be entitled to obtain from the clinician or the medical facility medical information concerning himself, including a copy of his medical records. (...) 20. (A) A clinician or medical facility may pass on medical information to a third person in any of the following cases: (1) The patient has consented to the disclosure of the medical information. (2) The clinician or medical facility are legally obliged to pass on the information; (3) The disclosure is for the purpose of the patient's treatment by another clinician;

There is also short note from Ministry of Health website:

You have the right to receive from the care provider or medical institution, medical information contained in your medical records, or a copy of the medical record (receiving a copy of the record may be subject to a fee). At the time of your release, you have the right to receive a summary of the course of treatment or hospitalization, in writing.

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